Apple & Intel: What you need to know

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Mac

Apple’s startling announcement that it will begin a transition away from PowerPC chips to Intel-made processors has left Mac fans’ heads spinning, and not just because a former “enemy” of the Mac is now counted among its allies. Many details about the transition are unclear or flat-out missing — after all, Apple said it won’t be shipping any Intel-based Macs until next year. And let’s be honest — computer chips are not exactly the simplest topic under the sun.

To help you sort out this situation, here’s what you need to know about the Apple-Intel announcement — in the form of frequently-asked questions.

What, specifically, did Apple announce?

On June 6 in an address to Mac developers, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would begin a transition from the PowerPC chips that currently power Mac systems to chips built by Intel. Jobs said that by June of next year, at least some Intel-based Macs would be on the market, that by June 2007 most new Macs would be Intel-based, and that by the end of 2007 the last-ever PowerPC-based Mac will have rolled off the assembly line.

2006? So why did Apple announce this now?

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